On the Meaning of Economic Efficiency in Policy Analysis
There are crucial differences in the normative foundations of alternative economic criteria used to assess the "efficiency" of policy proposals. Differences between Pareto and potential Pareto measures are emphasized in this comparison of "efficiency" standards. Technical distinctions between these two criteria are examined and illustrated. It is argued that potential Pareto criteria have greater disciplinary acceptance than their normative foundations merit and, further, that the Pareto measure has suffered undue criticism from association with its potential Pareto namesake.
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